Tech specs for a spacecraft that doesn’t exist (yet).
Monday, June 30th, 2014
Sunday, June 29th, 2014
Well, the second Responsive Day Out was a most excellent day out indeed. I figured it would be, what with that excellent line-up of speakers. Still, I was blown away by the quality of the talks—everyone over-delivered.
Once again, lots of people remarked on how much they liked the format of three back-to-back short talks followed by a group discussion. And needless to say, Ethan’s closing keynote was the perfect rousing finish to the day.
Despite it being a rough’n’ready affair, everything went pretty smoothly. The only annoyance was the way the room got a bit hot and stuffy towards the end of the day’s proceedings.
(It’s ironic. For the past few years we’ve had a conference in the Corn Exchange at the end of June—Ampersand—and the weather always turned out to be pretty drab, which we moaned about. This year we finally got some weather and it made the conference a bit uncomfortable. You can’t win.)
All in all though, it was a terrific day of inspiration and thought-provocation. If you came along, thank you. If you didn’t make it, you can catch up with post-conference reports from these people:
Stephen, Sally, Ida, chatting with Stephen, Sally, and Ida, Rachel, Dan, Yaili, chatting with Rachel, Dan, and Yaili, Oliver, Kirsty, Stephanie, chatting with Oliver, Kirsty, and Stephanie, and the one and only Ethan.
Here’s the RSS feed to put into your podcatching software of choice.
In the pub afterwards, quite a few people asked me if there’d be a third Responsive Day Out. My initial feeling is “no” …but then again, I thought that after the first one too. So who knows? Maybe there’s room for one more (but then it really would be the last one). We’ll see.
But in the meantime, there’s one event that is most certainly happening that you definitely don’t want to miss: dConstruct 2014.
As I said at the closing of Responsive Day Out 2, dConstruct is a very different kind of event. There won’t be any delving into CSS specs. But it’s the perfect event for any web designer or web developer who wants to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. And it’s ruddy good fun.
So if you liked Responsive Day Out, you’re going to love dConstruct. Get your ticket now.
Here’s the Creative Commons licensed music that was playing during the breaks at Responsive Day Out 2.
Here’s Kirsty’s retrospective of Responsive Day Out 2, from the perspective of a speaker and an attendee.
As well as delivering a terrific talk at Responsive Day Out 2, Ida has also written up her detailed notes of the day.
Adam Onishi’s write-up of Responsive Day Out 2, paying particular attention to the format and the curation of the day.
Jeremy puts together two fantastic conferences in Responsive Day Out and dConstruct, both of which I will have attended for the first time by the end of the year and I don’t think there’s a coincidence in that. Responsive Day Out was a truly fantastic conference, and it was all down to the curation of the conference, because quite literally there wasn’t anything else.
As always, Orde Saunders took copious notes at Responsive Day Out 2. The man’s a machine!
@decadecity Thank you (as always) for your in-depth notes from Responsive Day Out 2—much appreciated.
Sally’s talk at Responsive Day Out 2 was really, really great—it kinda blew my mind. I’m so, so happy she agreed to be a part of the event.
Here’s her description of the day and the other talks. Pay attention to the closing call:
I didn’t get to meet everyone I wanted to, but you should all come back for dConstruct in September as I’m sure that it’ll be even better than this weekend was.
Another great write-up of Responsive Day Out 2, this time from Hidde de Vries, who came over to Brighton from the Netherlands.
A terrific write-up of Responsive Day Out 2 by David Watson, tying together many of the day’s strands.
Guardian beta · The container model and blended content – a new approach to how we present content on the Guardian
This is what Oliver was talking about Responsive Day Out 2 — a new approach to information architecture.
Cast off your sidebars! You have nothing to lose but your grids!
This Tumblr blog has the grandiose ambition of being “a showcase of the hottest hamburger icons on the web”, but amazingly, they’ve actually succeeded in documenting every single example of a cool hamburger icon.
A short film about Claude Shannon and Information Theory — not exactly as in-depth as James Gleick’s The Information, but it does a nice job of encapsulating the fundamental idea.
Playing a jig on the bouzouki.
Saturday, June 28th, 2014
She can only offer you unconditional algo-love.
Perhaps that’s the purest love of all.
Photos from the rather wonderful second edition of the Responsive Day Out in Brighton.
Friday, June 27th, 2014
I had a thoroughly splendid time at http://responsiveconf.com/ today.
Thanks to everyone who came, and huge thanks to the great speakers.
I thought that the Swiss were supposed to be good at timekeeping, @Reichenstein. ;-)
Thursday, June 26th, 2014
In Brighton for Responsive Day Out 2?
There are plenty of events going on around it: http://adactio.com/journal/6921/
Responsive Day Out activities
The sequel I’ve been eagerly awaiting—Responsive Day Out 2—is almost here! It kicks off tomorrow morning at 9am. I probably won’t be able to sleep much tonight, but that’s okay: I’ll need to be at the Corn Exchange in the Brighton Dome bright and early to help get everything set up.
I always love the atmosphere on the day before an event in Brighton. I like seeing the updates from friends far and wide as they arrive into town. Everything is coalescing nicely: speakers, attendees, and all-round lovely people are begin to show up and gather together.
If you’re coming to the conference, you’re in for a treat. There’s going to be a lot of brain food provided. There will not, however, be any food food provided. But don’t fret. There’s a nice long hour-and-a-half lunch break, and plenty of options for food nearby.
I recommended heading up the street to the weekly Street Diner at the top of Church Road.
Once the conference is done, we’ll head to the pub. No particular pub, just …the pub. There are plenty within cat-swinging distance of the venue.
If you’re still in Brighton on Saturday, there are some sporty events planned.
Are you coming to Responsive Day Out? Don’t forget to stay for Saturday for the special Web Talk Dog Walk: http://t.co/lFgdEdxD9R :)— Laura Kalbag (@laurakalbag) June 16, 2014
See you tomorrow!
The telescope in the woods
I met Sandijs of Froont fame when I was in Austin for Artifact back in May. He mentioned how he’d like to put on an event in his home city of Riga, and I said I’d be up for that. So last weekend I popped over to Latvia to speak at an event he organised at a newly-opened co-working space in the heart of Riga.
That was on Friday, so Jessica I had the rest of the weekend to be tourists. Sandijs rented a car and took us out into the woods. There, in the middle of a forest, was an observatory: the Baldone Schmidt telescope.
The day we visited was the Summer soltice and we were inside the observatory getting a tour of the telescope at the precise moment that the astronomical summer began.
It’s a beautiful piece of machinery. It has been cataloging and analysing carbon stars since the ’60s.
Nowadays, the images captured by the telescope go straight into a computer, but they used to be stored on glass plates. Those glass plates are now getting digitised too. There’s one person doing all the digitising. It takes about forty minutes to digitise one glass plate. There are approximately 22,000 glass plates in the archive.
It’s going to be a long process. But once all that data is available in a machine-readable format, there will inevitably be some interesting discoveries to made from mining that treasure trove.
The telescope has already been used to discover a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt. It’s about 1.5 kilometers wide. Its name is Baldone.
Wednesday, June 25th, 2014
A lovely little tale of empowerment through HTML and CSS.
We better get used to them…
Tantek’s talk at the Personal Democracy Forum on the past, present, and future of independent publishing on the web.
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014
Some good ideas from Matt on the importance of striving to maintain digital works. I find it very encouraging to see other people writing about this, especially when it’s this thoughtful.
Getting very excited for http://responsiveconf.com …just a few more sleeps to go.
Monday, June 23rd, 2014
The Latvian equivalent of turning swords into ploughshares is turning Zeppelin hangars into food markets. Nice!
Saturday, June 21st, 2014
Your move, @textfiles, your move…
Here I am in Latvia on the weekend of the midsummer celebrations.
I feel like Edward Woodward showing up on Summerisle.
Friday, June 20th, 2014
Phew! Made it to @MillRiga. Just in time.
Experiencing Riga’s traffic in a taxi from the airport … right at the time when I should be giving a talk.
Public transport has become teeth-grindingly irritating, thanks to the default SMS alert whistle on Samsung phones.
Going to Latvia. brb
Thursday, June 19th, 2014
Chase Reeves likes Huffduffer so much, he made a video about it.
Wednesday, June 18th, 2014
Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Jacqueline Currie is running Robotics/Bioengineering/Computing workshops for girls (ages 6-16) this Saturday at the University of Brighton.
Finding a typo on this page:
It’s this bit: “All content copyright La Cascade © 2014”
OH: “I could agree with you, but then we’d both be wrong.”
If you’re coming to the Responsive Day Out next week, bring your dog. Laura is organising a special Web Talk Dog Walk for the next day.
Here’s the (subject-to-change) schedule for next Friday’s Responsive Day Out 2: Responsive Boogaloo
Responsive Day Out 2: The Scheduling
Responsive Day Out 2 is just ten days away. If you’ve got a ticket, I’ll see you there. If you haven’t got a ticket, sorry; they’re all sold out. But despair not—some people who have tickets can’t make it and they’re looking to transfer theirs:
Either way, if you can make it to Brighton on Friday, June 27th, you’re in for a treat.
The location is the Corn Exchange at the Brighton Dome, a short walk from the train station. We’ll be using the main Dome entrance on Church Street. Just follow the geeks.
Bring along your ticket (either on paper or on a screen) or some form of ID. If you have a ticket and you can’t make it after all, feel free to transfer it to someone else: there’s a link in the email you got when you registered that will allow you to update the attendee details.
As with last year, the event will be a fast-paced affair, with each section chunked into groups of three back-to-back fast talks followed by a joint discussion with all three speakers.
I’ve grouped the talks into sections that are roughly thematically-related. The day will kick off with a section grouped around planning and process. Then there’ll be a more technology-focused section. After lunch, there’ll be a more big-picture, strategic section. At least one of the talks in each section will be based around a case study.
The one exception to the format is the final section of the day. That’s all Ethan, all the time. It will be Ethantastic.
The order might end up changing, but here’s what I’ve got planned:
|–||Chat with Stephen, Sally, and Ida.|
|–||Chat with Rachel, Dan, and Yaili.|
|–||Chat with Oliver, Kirsty, and Stephanie.|
|–||Chat with Ethan.|
Now, just to make sure that your expectations are in check, remember that this is a very rough’n’ready spit’n’sawdust kind of event. You won’t be getting a conference programme. You won’t even be getting a lanyard. Lunch is not provided (but Street Diner will be on that day—yay!). There is no pre-party. There is no after-party. And if you want a cup of tea or a coffee, it’ll cost ya.
Basically, every expense has been spared for this. There’s only aspect where we haven’t cut any corners, and that’s with the speakers. I can guarantee you a day of excellent talks.
See you next Friday!
There are many services out there for keeping track of what you’re reading. Susan has found the best one:
Slowly, ever so slowly, as I realize how things come and go on the web, I realize that this is my home. Because this is my home, I want all the things that matter to me to reside here.
Monday, June 16th, 2014
The next 300 Seconds event is in just a few days time.
If you’re a woman who’s not spoken in public before, 300 Seconds is the perfect platform for getting started. Simply tell us what you’d like to talk about for 5 minutes – and we’ll be in touch soon.
I had a lot of fun chatting with Andrew on his podcast. Yes, it’s a rambling affair but it’s worth sticking with it—we get really stuck in to some thorny questions about design and advertising.
Sunday, June 15th, 2014
Here in the UK, there’s a “newspaper”—and I use the term advisedly—called The Sun. In longstanding tradition, page 3 of The Sun always features a photograph of a topless woman.
To anyone outside the UK, this is absolutely bizarre. Frankly, it’s pretty bizarre to most people in the UK as well. Hence the No More Page 3 campaign which seeks to put pressure on the editor of The Sun to ditch their vestigal ’70s sexism and get with the 21st Century.
Note that the campaign is not attempting to make the publication of topless models in a daily newspaper illegal. Note that the campaign is not calling for top-down censorship from press regulators. Instead the campaign asks only that the people responsible reassess their thinking and recognise the effects of having topless women displayed in what is supposedly a family newspaper.
Laura Bates of the Everyday Sexism project has gathered together just some examples of the destructive effects of The Sun’s page 3. And sure, in this age of instant access to porn via the internet, an image of a pair of breasts might seem harmless and innocuous, but it’s the setting for that image that wreaks the damage:
Being in a national newspaper lends these images public presence and, more harmfully for young people, the perception of mainstream cultural approval. Our society, through Page 3, tells both girls and boys ‘that’s what women are’.
Simply put, having this kind of objectification in a freely-available national newspaper normalises it. When it’s socially acceptable to have a publication like The Sun in a workplace, then it’s socially acceptable for that same workplace to have the accompanying air of sexism.
That same kind of normalisation happens in online communities. When bad behaviour is tolerated, bad behaviour is normalised.
There are obvious examples of online communities where bad behaviour is tolerated, or even encouraged: 4Chan, Something Awful. But as long as I can remember, there have also been online communites that normalise abhorrent attitudes, and yet still get a free pass (usually because the site in question would deliver bucketloads of traffic …as though that were the only metric that mattered).
Thx to Reddit & HN, “hacker" has moved away from its clever nerd (Wozniak) & rogue agent (Mitnick) connotations towards “misogynist asshole”— Jason Kottke (@jkottke) March 25, 2013
Some days Hacker News and Reddit are nothing more than the Westboro Baptist Church of the Internet.— Faruk Ateş (@KuraFire) March 21, 2013
I’m terrified every time I blog about anything even slightly controversial that someone will post it on Reddit or HN. That says something.— CultureOfFear & BEES (@juliepagano) March 19, 2013
In each case, the defence of the bad behaviour was always explained by the sheer size of the community. “Hey, that’s just the way it is. There’s nothing can be done about it.” To put it another way …it’s normal.
But normality isn’t an external phenomenon that exists in isolation. Normality is created. If something is perceived as normal—whether that’s topless women in a national newspaper or threatening remarks in an online forum—that perception is fueled by what we collectively accept to be “normal”.
Last year, Relly wrote about her experience at a conference:
Then there was the one comment I saw in a live irc style backchannel at an event, just after I came off stage. I wish I’d had the forethought to screenshot it or something but I was so shocked, I dropped my laptop on the table and immediately went and called home, to check on my kids.
Because the comment said (paraphrasing) “This talk was so pointless. After she mentioned her kids at the beginning I started thinking of ways to hunt them down and punish her for wasting my time here.”
That’s a horrible thing for anyone to say. But I can understand how someone would think nothing of making a remark like that …if they began their day by reading Reddit or Hacker News. If you make a remark like that there, nobody bats an eyelid. It’s normal.
So what do we do about that? Do we simply accept it? Do we shrug our shoulders and say “Oh, well”? Do we treat it like some kind of unchangeable immovable force of nature; that once you have a large online community, bad behaviour should be accepted as the default mode of discourse?
It’s hard work. I get that. Heck, I run an online community myself and I know just how hard it is to maintain civility (and I’ve done a pretty terrible job of it in the past). But it’s not impossible. Metafilter is a testament to that.
The other defence of sites like Reddit and Hacker News is that it’s unfair to judge the whole entity based purely on their worst episodes. I don’t buy that. The economic well-being of a country shouldn’t be based on the wealth of its richest citizens—or even the wealth of its average citizens—but its poorest.
@adactio if Reddit does something “good" it’s one community, it does something bad it’s “not all reddit”. It’s such a dull argument.— David Singleton (@dsingleton) June 10, 2014
That was precisely how Rebecca Watson was shouted down when she tried to address Reddit’s problems when she was on a panel at South by Southwest last year:
Does the good, no matter if it’s a fundraiser for a kid with cancer or a Secret Santa gift exchange, negate the bigotry?
Like I said, running an online community is hard—Derek’s book was waaaay ahead of its time—but it’s not impossible. If we treat awful behaviour as some kind of unstoppable force that can’t be dealt with, then what’s the point in trying to have any kind of community at all?
Just as with the No More Page 3 campaign, I’m not advocating legal action or legislative control. Instead, I just want some awareness that what we think of as normal is what we collectively decide is normal.
I try not to be a judgemental person. But if I see someone in public with a copy of The Sun, I’m going to judge them. And no, it’s not a class thing: I just don’t consider misogyny to be socially acceptable. And if you participate in Reddit or Hacker News …well, I’m afraid I’m going to judge you too. I don’t consider it socially acceptable.
Of course my judgemental opinion of someone doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to anybody. But if enough of us made our feelings clear, then maybe slowly but surely, there might be a shift in feeling. There might just be a small movement of the needle that calibrates what we think of normal in our online communities.
Going to Bark In The Park.
Saturday, June 14th, 2014
Cicciolina, Cicciolina, cic, cic, cic, Cicciolina Cicciolina, Cicciolina for Italia, Italia!
Did anyone else see that other LEO satellite going perpendicular to the ISS, almost intersecting its orbit?
The eyes of the nation turn to the television.
My eyes turn to the sky …ISS flypast in five minutes.
#NationalMovieQA Genuine question: Do you have to be somewhat of an asshole to be a tour manager?
Note to self: the recent change to Flickr’s API requiring that requests are made to https URLs also applies to its oEmbed endpoint.
Here’s a nice little UI addition to Chrome. When you focus on the URL bar, if the current site has site-specific search discoverable via rel=”search”, then you get a greyed-out hint to press tab so you can start searching the site.
Did you see Keren at dConstruct 2012? Well, here she is at this year’s TED conference delivering a barnstorming talk on hacker culture.
A great little piece by Russell Davies on the Indie Web movement.
Here’s the chat I had with Jen and Doug about the prospect of DRM in browsers.
Friday, June 13th, 2014
Taking delivery of a bottle of Killepitsch, courtesty of @derSchepp. Vielen Dank!
Thursday, June 12th, 2014
Going outside to watch the ISS fly overhead.
It feels somehow fitting—and at the same time, entirely inadequate—to offer support to Eric using CSS.
Design fiction from a NASA scientist.
Back in the UK.
Wednesday, June 11th, 2014
At Philadelphia airport (again), availing of the opportunity to grab a cheesesteak before heading home. The only cheesesteak of this trip!
Today I will mostly be in nascent spaceports.
Penn State to Philadelphia, and thence to Heathrow.
Scott’s trying to find out the best ways to load critical CSS first and non-critical CSS later. Good discussion ensues.
Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
Watching many men rush to Reddit’s defence on Twitter.
“Not all subreddits…”
Listening to @AlexisOhanian, unleasher of some of my least-favourite things on the internet: Reddit, Secret, YCombinator.
This is quite exciting: the Endnote project is sponsoring Science Hack Day globally—not just an individual event.
Monday, June 9th, 2014
Sunday, June 8th, 2014
Hey, I was using that!
Landed at the airport for State College, Pennsylvania.
There is a single taxi driver here who looks (and acts) exactly like Gomer Pyle.
Back in Philadelphia’s nascent space port for the fourth—and not the last—time in one week.
Saturday, June 7th, 2014
A beautiful sunny day. A beautiful neighbourhood. A beautiful house. A beautiful family going through the unimaginable.
Saw my dear friend going through the worst thing. All I could do was hug him and pass on the love, sympathy, and sorrow of everyone I know.
I, for one, don’t welcome our applinks overlords.
So, you’re checking out your news feed on your Facebook app and you see a CNN post that you want to read. After reading the post on CNN, you decide you want to to read the source article on TMZ…
Friday, June 6th, 2014
Thank you, @RustbeltRefresh, for indulging my rantiness.
Preparing to give the closing talk at Rustbelt Refresh.
Must resist the urge to open with “Hello, Cleveland!”
In the Cleveland public library being interviewed for “What Comes Next Is The Future.”
Thursday, June 5th, 2014
Cleveland,* I am in you.
Going to Cleveland.* brb
*Yes, Cleveland, Ohio. Is the qualifier really necessary?
Wednesday, June 4th, 2014
Philadelphia, I am in you.
Waiting to board an airplane.
Some people think of airports as glorified bus stations.
I like to think of them as nascent spaceports.
Resignedly awaiting the inevitable Apple apologism.
“It’s good that you wished URLs into the cornfield, Safari.”
This 3-part @AdamRutherford radio series is great science reporting:
Going to Philadelphia. brb
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014
People of Brighton: do NOT miss Hack Circus: Access All Areas on the evening of June 14th:
Apple Kaiju Operating Systems.
OS X Knifehead, OS X Leatherback, OS X Mutavore, OS X Slattern.
Apple Jaeger Operating Systems.
OS X Cherno Alpha, OS X Gipsy Danger, OS X Brawler Yukon, OS X Lucky Seven.
I really hope that this is the kind of usage we’ll see for web components: enhancements for the browsers that support them without a good ol’ fashioned fallback for older browsers.
Monday, June 2nd, 2014
The naming of Apple OSs and the naming of Culture ships are rapidly converging.
OS X Sleeper Service.
Thoroughly enjoying this new album by The War On Drugs.
Trying to work from a Photoshop file after working with Sketch feels like such a step backward. Layers of obfuscation (literally).
It blows my mind that there is a @ScienceHackDay happening in Medellín and New York at the same time—wish I could’ve made it to one of them.
Sunday, June 1st, 2014
A lovely little from Josh that allows you to draw shapes in a canvas element and then copy the resulting code.
Enemy Mine is on the telly. I remember thoroughly enjoying Barry B. Longyear’s “Manifest Destiny” and “Circus World”.
Notes from a small website
A week ago, I tweeted:
After a long weekend of coding, I’ve got a brand new section on my website.
But that tweet did not originate on Twitter. That tweet is a copy. The original is here.
To be honest, I’ve never been that pushed about having my own bite-sized updates hosted on my own site and syndicated out to Twitter. I’m much more concerned about my photos. Still, I thought it was pretty cool the way that Chloe, Aaron, Amber, and Barnaby have a “notes” section on their sites hosting the canonical URLs of their updates, so I thought I’d give it a shot too.
Creating a new section on my own site is pretty straightforward. My home-rolled CMS is really creaky and ropey but it gets the job done. The notes section is just another kind of post, same as journal, links, and articles. The tricky bit (for me) was figuring out how to post a copy to Twitter.
It was pretty clear which API method I needed to use. The hard part was all the OAuth stuff. I’ve never meddled with that kind of voodoo before.
I signed into dev.twitter.com and created an application called adactio.com. I’m given an API key and an API secret. This application will only never need to post as me, so I was able to take advantage of single-user OAuth to generate my access token and access token secret:
By using a single access token, you don’t need to implement the entire OAuth token acquisition dance.
Now I had the four pieces I needed to send with a status update:
- my consumer key,
- my consumer secret,
- my access token, and
- my access token secret.
I found a small PHP library that uses Andy’s OAuth code. Looking at the source code, I was able to figure out what I needed to send to Twitter. The OAuth class is doing all the hard work—my PHP code is fairly basic.
Imagine my surprise when it actually worked.
I fiddled around with my site’s crude templating system so that if I’m logged into my little CMS, I’m presented with a simple update form on the front page of adactio.com.
When I type a note into that form and hit “post”, here’s what happens:
- I store the note in my own database.
- I send a copy to Twitter as a status update.
- Twitter returns a JSON object with info about the tweet I just created.
- I take the ID of that tweet and store it in my database along with the original note.
Having the ID of the copy on Twitter allows me to provide some Twitter-specific actions from my own site: reply, retweet, fave, etc.
Okay, so now I’m posting to Twitter from my own site. Nifty! But what about receiving notifications from Twitter? If someone replies to, or likes, or favourites the copy of my note on Twitter, it would be nice to get notified about it on adactio.com.
This would be a really complex problem to attempt to solve for myself, but fortunately I don’t have to. Brid.gy is a magical tool written by Ryan Barrett that you can authorise to watch your Twitter profile. It will send a webmention back to the canonical URL on your own site whenever anyone replies to, or retweets or favourites a post.
Because I’ve already got webmentions on my site, Brid.gy worked straight out of the gate—a lovely demonstration of some small pieces, loosely joined.
Like I said, I wasn’t all that pushed about hosting my own short updates but now that I’m doing it, I’m really, really enjoying it. It feels good.
It feels good to be using my own website for “microblogging”. I know that’s a distasteful phrase but it’s a fairly accurate way of describing how I tend to use Twitter. My earliest tweets definitely feel like short blog posts.
A short sci-fi film from director Wanuri Kahiu set in the aftermath of a worldwide water war.
A look at how the website for An Event Apart is using the picture and Picturefill …featuring Jessica as the cover girl.